Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 22, Issue 4, Summer 2003

Robert L. Williams, Sherry K. Bain, Susan L. Stockdale
Pages 65-72

Role of Critical Thinking in Judging Accuracy and Sources of Claims Regarding Human Development

Teacher-education students in a large Human Development course took a generic critical thinking test and 2 companion questionnaires related to the accuracy of human-development claims and perceived sources of information for evaluating those claims. Based on their initial critical thinking scores, some students were identified as high or low critical thinkers and subsequently compared on their evaluations of developmental claims and perceived sources of information for their evaluations. The critical thinking groups differed in the following respects: High critical thinkers better judged the accuracy of developmental claims both at the beginning and end of the course; high critical thinkers made greater gains during the course in judging the accuracy of course-related claims; and high and low critical thinkers differed in the sources of information used in evaluating developmental claims.